Friday, August 31, 2012

Little Bliss list

Good morning! Things have been going... better. It's been a busy week and the next couple plan to be busy too, but there's lots of excitement in the air. Here is my little bliss list for the week!

1. Getting organized. Not only am I clearing things out, but i have started to make a list of things I need to do around the house. Room by room, I went through and started noting things. Some are small, some are big. Some will cost money, and some I can do with materials on hand. I have already started knocking out the list and while I know it will continue to grow, it feels good to accomplish, and to treat my house like a properly planned project rather than an overwhelming mess.

2. I gave myself the first part of my birthday present this week and I LOVE IT.

3. I knocked out a couple of reasonably sized bills this week. Not by paying them, but by calling to either pay them (insurance took care of that one) or to dispute the charges. The dispute went as well as it could considering I learned that my old dentist had several strokes over the last year, but the good news is, that they are writing off the $270 in charges I never incurred. You can imagine my shock at opening that bill!! I wish my old dentist good health.

It's a pretty small list this week. Not because I am unhappy, but because it went by so dang fast!!

Thanks to Liv Lane for hosting such a positive exercise each week!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Crap! I ran out of preposted posts!

I've been kind of busy. I know, excuses, excuses. I'm sure I will have more neurosis soon though, my birthday is almost here. and September always freaks me out a bit. Not because of my birthday, but because it tends to be a month of drama. I wrote about it, but then it sounded all negative and I'm feeling pretty darn positive lately.

It really helps that my birthday present to myself this year is epically wonderful. I'm going to be vague because I don't want to be all gung ho and then fall off. I do that. Fall off. A lot. I don't want to this time.

Today I want to talk about yesterday. Yesterday I had time between work and a board meeting and so I thought, "Hey! I'm going to go to the bar!" One drink. I'm not the kind of person who really goes to bars alone but I know a couple of the owners, they are nice guys, and one drink doesn't equal a problem.

Actually, after the heavy drinking I did last year (Dude. the Dr checked my liver with my thyroid. I must have been drinking a lot) I think the alcoholic gene might have skipped me. Which is good. I will still watch myself.

ANYWAY, I planned to go to the bar after work. But I went to the craft store instead. I picked up the item I needed, and looked for more items I needed. All in all, I spent a good hour there just wandering around. At least, it felt like an hour. Since I couldn't find the other item I needed, and I didn't find anything else I "needed", I left. Having bought 2 things. A cake decorating tip for $1 and some Almond Roca because I didn't want to put $1 on my debit card.

WIN!! Do you know how strange it was for me to go through a craft store looking at stuff and going, "don't need that, don't need that, don't need that either". It actually felt better than acquiring things. Next step? Get rid of all the things. I still haven't had my garage sale.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

As time goes by

I'm sure I have mentioned it numerous times in the last couple of weeks, but it's been 5 years since I moved from my comfy little apartment to this wild adventure that is Northern Nevada. You  know, because it's like the wild west up here...

Things haven't really gone the way I planned, except that they kind of did.

The job I came up here for? Didn't work out. In a big dramatic way. And I had to take a pay cut to get another one. BUT

If I had stayed in San Diego, I would have been laid off.
My years with PetSmart (ooh! big reveal!) were some of the happiest working years I have ever had. They were a good employer and the building I worked in had a good attitude overall. I looked forward to going to work every day.
I was still able to buy a house.
I got my dog.
I've met some really great people and had some really good times.

Sure, it hasn't always been all hearts and flowers, I've had some really tough times. It's been really hard to be away from my family, knowing that my nieces are growing up hardly knowing me. Needing my mom. Needing my siblings. Needing the friends I have had since I was young. There's just something comfortable and different, something unexplainable about being around the people who know you best. And love you anyway.

At the same time, I am so fortunate, so incredibly blessed to have found the people here that I have kept in my life. Some have left and come back, some I miss a lot. We aren't talking about them right now.

It's been a good, solid, overall happy 5 years. I wonder what the next 5 will bring?

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The latest

Every so often, I check in with the Bug Guy (remember him?) to let him know how things are going. I'm not very good at keeping in touch with people so I go months without contacting him, but he always seems happy to hear from me. today's message looked like this:

Checking in. Not married. Last relationship ended. Still hurting. How are you?

He's well. He started his own business and it has expanded. And then he said this:

Sorry to hear about your last relationship. You will overcome. You're Gina  (edited for grammar)

Funny, how he's the first person to say that before I could. It felt good to have someone say so.

I do still hurt. I didn't mean to hurt this long just as I didn't mean to care so much about someone who was either going to turn out to be the guy I thought he could be or he was going to break my heart. I know the worry about getting hurt colored my actions. I'm not an idiot.  But I also think maybe he was doing the same thing. Or, maybe like Poo said, he's just an idiot. I was too, in my own way. It's a hard place to be, stuck between hope and hurt.

Either way, I WILL overcome. I know I will. And knowing that keeps me going on the bad days. One day, there won't be anymore of those. Until then. I'll keep distracting us both with tales of my neurosis.

Monday, August 27, 2012

I draw the line HERE

I am very open about my love of all things mason jar. I like to use them for canning things. (I learned that last year!) and for storing things (great for soup and milk in the freezer!!) and for drinking out of. The tiny ones fit one serving of juice to be taken and consumed at work. (I can also freeze those single servings since I can rarely get through a half gallon of juice before it goes bad) the bigger ones hold soup. Nothing leaks. Nothing spills.

I drink koolaide and cocktails, iced coffee and tea. Sometimes, I don't even know why I have regular glasses except that sometimes I have company and my friends are not as enamored as I am.

I know. they're popular right now. I don't really care. I'll still be drinking out of mason jars after everyone else is done with them. You can take the girl out of the country, but lets face it, I'm a hillbilly at heart.

Since I am decluttering, I've pretty much gotten rid of all the old random jars I was keeping to put stuff in. I buy mason jars anyway. I use them for everything, I may as well just use those. The "mason jars" with handles? they're all ready for garage sale or donation. Someone else can love those. Plus, they aren't heat safe, which is why I have three, not four of them.

Today, however, on, I saw something that made me want to cry a little.

Mason Jars. glued to candle sticks to make them in to goblets.


Lets stop trying to make a spade into a  silver gravy ladle. It's an effin shovel. Go ahead and drink your margarita or wine out of a jar. Gluing a base to it does NOT make it a goblet. I get it. It's mildly funny. And I might have been more amused if I hadn't seen a set of red solo cups glued to those same candle sticks at a garage sale last weekend.

Not my garage sale. this one was so big I couldn't compete.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Dealing with myself. Part 6 - The now

I still slip. My house is a testament to that. And the other day when I was dusting ( I'm back on the Flylady Program. YAY!!) I realized that I don't really want to dust all that stuff anymore. I looked in the cracks and crevices of my house and realized that I can't see my baseboards anymore. Stuff, has accumulated.

It's been about 10 years since I moved out of that cluttered apartment. Just slightly less since I walked into my storage unit and started cleaning it out, exclaiming with each opened box, "Why in the world have I been holding onto this?" I still have a couple of boxes of stuff that I just can't seem to get rid of. One is letters and such. One holds the She Ra and Crystal Castle I bought on ebay after I moved out of C's place. (and my cabbage patch kid)

I have gotten rid of a lot of accumulation over the last 10 years but I have also accumulated a lot. Although I went through my books recently, I still have many that I haven't looked at in years. Decorations that I bought with intent that never materialized. I have boxes in the garage that I haven't unpacked from moving to Nevada 5 years ago.

I have some cool stuff. But I am ready to have it be other people's cool stuff. Those mason jar glasses I thought were super cool because who doesn't love to drink out of mason jars? getting rid of them. I usually just drink out of a mason jar.

There are several things that are pushing this. And I can't say how long my motivation to de-clutter will last.

1. The last boy? I never invited him over. Partly because he often made me feel ashamed of my neighborhood, often because I know that it tends to smell like bunny, and also because he too is a neat freak (I tend to like those). If we went out, I met him at his place. In a year of dating, he never stayed the night, and came over MAYBE 5 times. I'm erring on the high side. I have wondered how much of my insecurity over my home caused the eventual demise of the relationship. Granted, I didn't think he wanted to come to my house, but I also assumed that he didn't want to. That he was judging my home. Did he give me reasons to feel this way? yes. But I likely built those reasons up to be more unreasonable than they needed to be. When I start dating again (totally not ready.) I would like to feel comfortable having that man over to my house. I would like to open my door and not worry about him immediately thinking I am a slob. In short,I want to be proud of my home.

2. My mother. I was on the phone with my mom the other day and admitted that I had slipped in my diligence with cleaning. She asked if my house looked that that cluttered apartment. It doesn't. But it would certainly be easy to get back to that place. It hurt that she would think that I haven't matured beyond that level of slobbery, but I know she didn't mean it that way.

3. The couch in my living room currently has crafting stuff on it. So I have been sitting on the floor. I like the floor, I vacuum frequently, it gives me the opportunity to snuggle the dog. That doesn't make it right.

4. I've been thinking about getting a roommate. I was browsing the craigslist ads when I thought that I should run the idea by my advisors. As I was typing it out, I started to ask whether they would pay to live in my house. My answer to that was no. If I was looking for a room to rent, I wouldn't rent mine. My spare room is the cleanest room in my house. It would take less than 20 minutes to get it roomer ready if I didn't paint. BUT, I would also be sharing the rest of my house. There's the rub.

I'm having a garage sale. I'm pretty excited about it. maybe I will manage to fill the whole driveway with stuff! I have a pretty big driveway.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Little Bliss List

It's been a couple of weeks since I have joined in the little bliss. To be brutally honest, it's been a little hard to find bliss that didn't start and end with my dog. I left the space on Fridays open because I expected to have something, and then, Thursday being a generally difficult day for me, I just didn't have anything when the time came. I should have posted about the dog anyway because being greatful lifts me up.

So, here is my list of things that made me smile this week:

1. I made apple butter from free apples I got at work! My coworker is bringing more and I'll be making enough to share. She's also going to bring me some peaches. I love summer and I love free fruit!
2. That dog. He's adorable. Since my couch is still covered in crafting, I've been sitting on the floor more and we both love the opportunity to lay next to each other. Plus, I have plenty of access to his ticklish feet. If you have never tickeled a dog's feet, you're missing out. The facial expressions are priceless.
3. Garage sailing was awesome last weekend! I didn't bring very much home (this is a good thing) in fact, I passed up a $20 piano (I was tempted, but it broke the rules. Where would I put it? how would I get it home?) but I walked at least 6 miles and spent a lot of quality time with Ms Jackie (Wifey's twin).
4. ACTUALLY Ms invited me over to hang on Friday night too! I love to be invited. in my mind, invited = wanted. even if I can't go, the invitation is appreciated with all my heart. I DID go though and we played games and ate fresh cookies and talked about scary things that make a person want to go hide. Yup, we discussed... STDs. I threatened to glue my hooha shut.
5. I got to play with Ms J's chickens. Birds always bring me joy. I love the feel of their feathers.

That's all I have for now. But it's a lot. And even more because it's actually Thursday and I am feeling happy. Which is another thing to be greatful for.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Nail Biter

I was a nail biter as a child. chomp, chomp, I'd bite until there was nothing there. Sometimes I'd go too far and bleed, but I just couldn't stand having any sort of fingernail even though I wanted to have them. My Seester had pretty nails. So did my cousin. But I, was a biter. chomp chomp. (dirty habit!)

Fast forward to Jr High when I read in a teen magazine that boys like long nails. Painted. At that point I decided that if I was ever going to have a boyfriend, I needed to drop some bad habits. Like, biting my nails. So, being the determined person I am, I stopped biting my nails. And I painted them . And I made sure that the boy I liked saw my long pretty red nails.

He still wasn't interested. Teen Magazine lied to me.

I never took up being a nail biter again and maintained pretty nice ones up until massage school. They all got cut off for cleanliness and non scratchy reasons. They stayed that way until I retired and decided I could afford fake nails.  I loved my fake nails, but the cost was prohibitive and I decided I couldn't afford them any more after awhile. Whew. Run on.

Lately, I've been keeping them somewhere in between; just over the tips of my fingers unless they got too raggedy. BTW, I don't file my nails. it grosses me out.

For some reason, last night, I decided any nails at all was just dirty and nasty. I'm sure it had something to do with getting hamburger under there but suddenly, I felt like this:

Off they went. shudder.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

It turns into a real problem - Adulthood - part 5

My first apartment was pretty small but I could afford it. How much room does one person need, anyway? 600 square feet at $495 a month wasn't bad at all! (it had some interesting issues though)

The funny thing about your first home is that people suddenly have stuff they can give you. A lot of my first furniture came from Seester who was moving out of her place and in with cousins while she finished school. She also bought me my first set of drinking glasses, pots and pans, and several other home items she knew I would need. I had a few things from starting my "hope chest".

It didn't take me long to get a cat (added to the parakeet I already had). Not long after that, D moved in. Then he got his own cat. We were broke. If someone offered us something, we accepted. His mom gave us a lot of food (which tended to be left in the living room until put away. She was a compulsive coupon shopper). I recall that the living room was usually neat (D is a very tidy individual) but the bedroom was a mess. The closet was full of clothes, on the floor, on the rack. D actually had more clothes than I did so I was able to blame this on him.

Then we moved out separately and I had more room. So I filled it. I had a better job and suddenly had disposable income. I shopped. If I was unhappy, I would go to the mall. I'd hit the craft store, Wal Mart, anywhere, and buy things just because I could. My new, bigger place was a mess. To save money, I invited D and his new roommate to move in. He was able to have an escape area in the dining room, which he took over as his office. Everywhere else though, it was kind of a miracle it you could walk. I would joke that it was possible that I could trip and die in my computer area. There wasn't a path, there were places I could step and hit carpet. In the bedroom, was the "volcano"; a mass of clothing that was piled in a tub, roughly cone shaped. We still joke about the volcano.

I didn't think it was that bad because my friends would still come over. The roommates didn't complain. Even the eventual new roommates didn't complain. I eventually got rid of the volcano and kept up my bedroom, but the rest of the house, well...

It wasn't until I started packing up to move in with C that I realized just how bad it had gotten. I had already put restrictions on my purchases, which I still follow (mostly. sometimes I slip.) but I had lived in that apartment for 5 years. There was a lot of accumulation. I discovered bags of new stuff that I had purchased and never put away. Things that I had two of because I had forgotten that I already had one. I got rid of a lot, but still had a storage unit. All my stuff wasn't going to fit at C's house.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

I am a constant navel gazer

I am, if you haven't noticed, (and if you haven't noticed then you aren't paying attention) a navel gazer. NOT a Naval gazer, although, seriously, you can call me when you get OUT of the military. In a couple of months. (I'm kidding)

I look at myself, mentally, a lot. It's a bit of an obsession especially in the wake of relationship turmoil. Not just romantic relationships but also friends, family, and work associates. If there was drama, or hint of drama, or QUESTION of maybe some sort of personal discomfort between us, you can bet that I'll be in the shower talking to myself that night about how I behaved, whether I caused the situation through my actions, what I can do to change my behaviors in the future.

This might be crazy, but it's how I deal with life. It's how I realized that there are things that I just can't control. Things about myself, and most especially things about other people. Talking it out helps me tremendously. It's my therapy (along with singing it out, which, I suspect the neighbors can hear, but you know, I can pretend that they don't).

Sometimes, this leads to an apology on my part. Sometimes I just feel better, sometimes I tell myself that I will handle things differently next time, and if I am playing the "what if" scenarios in my head and getting all worked up over something, I remind myself that whatever it is will likely NEVER HAPPEN so I need to mellow out and move on.

This is going somewhere, I promise.

I'll be 35 next month. This means that I have been playing the dating game for a very long time. Statistically longer than most. I've broken a few hearts, and had mine smashed plenty. I've seen the romantic movies, heard the stories, read the books and I've taken the advice. I've tried online dating, meeting guys at work, through friends, in bars. I've been on blind dates, I've been on dates where the guy didn't look like his online picture, and dates where he did. I've had crushes that turned into something more, I've had hope, and I've recoiled.

After a relationship ended I have mourned for too long, not long enough, or just simply didn't find anyone interesting for years at a time. I've gotten into relationships because it was better than being alone (bad idea). I've tried dating more than one person at a time (WORSE idea). I've dated people I wasn't that into (absolutely the worst idea ever), and I have been on the wrong side of that painful situation. I've been casual, serious, a friend with benefits, and, I fear, a bootie call which is something I never intended to be and something I never want to be again.

I've tried looking and not looking.

With the exception of singles clubs (I looked into Sierra Club Singles but it just looked like SO MUCH WORK!! Meetings and outings and dues, OH MY!), speed dating, matchmaking services and attending church (which would be like LYING) I've tried just about every scenario that well meaning folks suggest.

I've stuck to my "list". I have deviated from it (bad idea! no need to settle!!). I've dated much older (well, much for me) and much younger (once again. We're talking like, 8 years in either direction)

Do you know what I learned about dating? I need to play by my own rules.

If I don't think I'm ready get involved someone? I shouldn't go out looking.
I can look or not look, it doesn't matter. The result will be the same.
My list is there for a reason, and it's not absurd, it's not being picky, it's knowing that there are things I am looking for in a partner and that those things are important to me.
Just because a fella meets all the criteria on the list, doesn't make him right for me. (this one is a tough one. REALLY tough. like, I want to cry just typing it out because it was a PAINFUL lesson. A lesson I've been slapped in the face with several times.)
If I am unhappy about something, there's probably a valid reason. And I need to bring it up so we can work it out before it turns ugly. I am NOT a pretty crier.
Bootie call agreements are not for me. Neither is casual. I need both parties to be all in and working at it. I know that dating is the trial period before deciding whether a person is someone you want to spend your life with. But when you find yourself at home more often than not knowing that the person you are seeing isn't as into you as you are into them, it hurts. My Seester once said something to me when I was mourning too long. She asked, "Why do you want to be with someone who doesn't want to be with you?" She was right. I DON'T want to be with someone who doesn't want to be with me. Sometimes, it just takes awhile to realize that's what is going on. If he's not treating me like I matter in his world, I probably don't. As my wife once asked about a different man, "Is this really better than being alone?" No. It isn't. I'd rather be alone than miserable over a man who is treating me like I'm only good for one thing when it is convenient for him. I wouldn't treat someone else like that, why should I allow it for me?

Some might say that it is silly to try so hard to find Mr Right. That I should learn to be happy with who I am. That I need to love myself before I can be loved by someone.

I call Bullshit. I know that I will always have room to improve. I can be happy with myself while still admitting that I have flaws. No one is perfect and if you are trying to love yourself the JUST way you are, then you're giving up on the pursuit of self discovery and improvement. I want to be the best person I can be, alone or with someone. And as far as trying so hard? I realized the other day that there is a biological need to have a partner. There are only so many biological things I can ignore.

Humans weren't meant to be alone. We are community creatures. If we were meant to be alone all the time, we wouldn't have a drive to find a partner. I know how to be alone. I've quite literally spent years without a romantic attachment. I know who I am when I am by myself. I navel gaze enough to know when that person is vastly different than the person I am when I am with someone.

When they are vastly different people, I need to walk away. And go have a long talk with myself in the shower.

Monday, August 20, 2012

No, I really do have a problem, pt 4, the teen years

We moved out when I was nearly 15 to start a new life. Money was tight so a trip to the Dollar Store was a huge treat. We were each allowed to pick out one thing each week so I would often choose lipstick (red) eyeliner (black) or a scrunchie. (it was the 90's, what do you want?) My dad started buying my school clothes my freshman year so my days of hand me downs was over (for a bit).

It was easy that first year not to gather. Any money I made babysitting was squirreled away to pay for driver's ed courses. From that apartment we moved into a larger condo and I had my own room for the first time. I started gathering things again. From fabric for my blooming sewing interest to clothes to books, to little science experiments (that attracted ants) my room would go from disaster to meticulously clean. Most of the time, as long as I kept my door shut and didn't attract ants, my mom was fine with my mess.

The difference was though, that now I had started attaching memories to things. I held onto things to remember so and so. Had to keep this, it was a gift from Grandma. A leaf from a tree that fell on me during lunch. (I was a bit of a flower child) I had gotten rid of many of my stuffed animals, but we all know how those gather up again.

As I got older, I started gathering the things I thought I would need when I moved into a place of my own. A hope chest. Then I turned 18 and moved out, and everything I owned fit into a 5 x 10 storage until while I went to Americorps.

Suddenly, I had disposable income. and was walking distance from Target. I could have anything I wanted and bought it. I have never grown out of this. My roommate stopped getting written up for my mess, which wasn't bad, but wasn't good enough for military standards. I think they stopped writing me up too. I really did try during that year and have memories of a fairly clean space.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Wing Man. I mean, Woman.

For all the drama and frustration that Roller Derby brings into my life, (and there is a lot, I just don't discuss it because I don't want to cause more) I have met some really wonderful people.

You know that I will talk all day about how blessed I am to have my wife (and her sister) in my life. I can't say enough good stuff about Bratty. Which is good since I spend more time with her than anyone on earth. The dog doesn't count, he's not a person.

Last week, I went to a going away party for a lady who is a lot of fun. We were team mates and often partnered up for drills because we are about the same size. She's a woman who I have a lot of respect for and who is moving to Sacramento. Her boss, who is my dentist (although he didn't recognise me with my mouth closed) threw her a party at the bowling alley (kid friendly) and fed us all pizza and beer. (I stuck with root beer)

At one point, there was a pan full of pepperoni pizza. I had eaten an sandwich before I went and 1 piece of pizza while there. In all factuality, I was full. Not overfull, satiated. But that pizza was there, practically licking my elbow like the dog does when he wants my attention.

I finally reached for a piece. Enter Durty Minion who looked at me and said, "you don't want that". I was surprised. I'm not used to anyone telling what I should and shouldn't eat. In fact, the last time I can recall being questioned about what I was eating was when I was in my early twenties and about to bite into a donut and the boy at the time looked at me and said "you aren't going to get fat again are you?"

So, I was taken aback, but not at all offended because she was right. I didn't want another piece of pizza, I was just eating it because it was there. She suggested that I have a piece of gum instead. And you know what? it worked. (mint gum and root beer, not so good).

When Whoop, the guest of honor sat down and grabbed a piece and took a bite, Durty was there to say, "you don't really want that!" Shocked, I suggested that perhaps she did, but it turns out, Whoop didn't want it, she was eating it because it was there.

It's not just me!!

We all sat and talked and chewed our gum until it was time to go.

We have a grazing culture. Because food is plentiful and available, we just eat it. We aren't eating because we are hungry or because we need sustenance, we eat because it is there.

I could go into all sorts of ideas about how this is left over from the hunter-gatherer times when we didn't know when our next meal would be, but in all honesty, we're Americans. And overindulging is what we do. We go to all you can eat buffets and gorge. We have parties where the food is just there for the taking and so we take. and talk. and eat some more even though we are full. We eat bags of chips without a second thought. Munch cocktail weenies and onion dip like they are going out of style.

Then we wonder why we are fat.

So today, I am thankful for my friend Durty who wasn't afraid to be my foodie wing woman and remind me to eat when I'm hungry, not because it's there.

It's amazing, how great I feel since I stopped overindulging. My belly doesn't hurt and I don't feel as sluggish. I have to eat more often and I am still getting used to that (last weekend there were a couple of food emergencies. One while out garage sailing Saturday when I didn't eat breakfast and one on Sunday when dinnertime hit and I realized that I had ONLY had breakfast.) I feel more energetic. I don't know if it's helping my physique, but hey, in a week of trying, I think I'm already making good progress.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

I'm beginning to think perhaps it's just a habit, part 3, my childhood

We may not have had a lot of money (there were prosperous years and less prosperous years) but we never wanted for toys. I remember my mom giving up on us keeping our bedroom clean and just asking  us to keep a path through it. I remember her warning us that mess attracts bugs. (boy, did I learn that lesson later!)

As we got older, Seester got neater. I never really did. The drawers under my bed were full of stuff. There were years when there was a dead frog in there from a biology set I received as a birthday gift. I wanted to be a scientist. I loved my chemistry sets. and the test tubes and that frog needed to be dissected. (it never was) my bookshelves were full of books. My drawers were full of toys. I had many shoes and a constant influx of hand me down clothes from my cousin. I generally couldn't open those drawers because they were full or there was too much stuff in front of it. At one point, Seester put as masking tape line down the center of the room and I kept my mess on my side of it.

When we moved, the stuff went with. It was my stuff! I liked it! Toys were rarely gotten rid of, unless my mom got pissed enough to clean my mess into a big trash bag. The only time I remember actively getting rid of something was the She Ra purge when I was 10 or 11. I regretted it for years.

When my cousin moved in, and I moved to a mattress on the floor, it was even harder to keep up with the mess. But we tried. We made it a game. This was especially important when we put that house on the market. Everything had to stay clean.

Then we moved to the sticks. And I had my own closet. I'm pretty sure it was full. I don't think I ever fully unpacked, I think I just acquired more stuff. And when we left that place, we took only the things that were most important, so much of my stuff got left behind. This was actually a good thing.

We started over. I couldn't have a lot of stuff because there were 4 of us living in a 2 bedroom apartment. Eventually I did get a few things that I had left behind, but most of it was disposed of by Dadi and GJ. By the time that happened, I was an adult with a whole new pile of stuff. All the childhood detritus was out of sight, out of mind.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012


I tried the ice cream and it was "okay". Very peanut buttery. Maybe I just got some that ddn't have very much fluff.

I blamed the bellyache on too much food.

I went home and made a fluffernutter sandwich thinking that I needed to try the original to truly appriciate the knock off.

I didn't really like it. Or rather, I was quite unimpressed.

I blamed the bellyache on too much food. And took a couple of tums.

Then I woke up at 3 am with a face that looked a lot like this:

I was pretty sure at that point it wasn't too much food. I was pretty sure, actually, that things were going to get messy.

They didn't, although I sat by the toilet for while (Thank goodness I had completed my swish and swipe that morning!!) . I talked to myself about calling my wife to take me to the hospital. Or calling an ambulance (idea was quickly abandoned on account of the cost). I thought about driving myself there but realized that I could barely move. Driving was not smart. If the pain got any worse, I was going to think about passing out.

I remembered that when Bossman had ulcers, he drank a lot of milk. I poured a little and took a sip. Nothing happened. I leaned over the toilet and hoped I could throw up whatever was making my belly unhappy. Nothing happened.

I remembered that I had tums. I ate three, waited a bit, and stumbled back to bed. I figured that if I could get some sleep, I would be able to go to the Dr in the morning. Or, I should say, when the sun was up.

Suddenly, the tums worked.

I'm not sure what happened, but the only thing I ate yesterday that I don't eat regularly was marshmallow fluff. I'm not sure if that stuff can go bad but it had been in my cabinet for awhile. It appears that I poisoned myself good this time. I'll be tossing the rest of the ice cream when I get home tonight. I don't want to poison anyone else. Dangit, I was going to try it with chocolate sauce next.

Tums make me thirsty. I'll take the thirst over pain any day.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

It might be an addiction, part 2, in the beginning

Every time I start to trace my stuff gathering, I want to start when I became an adult. But really, it begins so much earlier. Actually, I joke about it, but it really does start with my parents.

This is not another story about how my parents ruined my life and now I have to learn how to live with myself. It's a story about how I was raised, and how the tendencies of my parents went out of control with me.

My parents, mom, dad, step dad, are collectors. They keep things.

My mom has picture frames and crafting supplies that she has been keeping since I was little. Art frames being expensive, she doesn't want to get rid of them so that when she completes a painting, she will have it available. She has held onto things just in case. But its all put away or in the garage or in the spare room... Most of her home is uncluttered and spotless. I dream of this for myself.

My Step Dad collects cool stuff. I don't know what all he had because there tended to be things like rotten eggs and such, but between just collecting cool stuff and working in the movie/TV/commercial business, Dadi has some cool stuff. But, once again, he keeps it in its place. I'm sure his wife GJ would like it if he kept less of it, (in face I KNOW she would like it..) but he has his stuff and that's that. Their house is neat and tidy and pretty.

My father loves the swap meet and garage sales. He's also travelled the world. Cool stuff, junk, it all abounds. Between his stuff and the stuff that my great grandparents left behind, (some of which I have) I suspect he still has a storage unit. I also suspect that his girlfriend makes sure that their home is neat and tidy. I haven't been there. But they are living in a mobile home. Not a lot of room for clutter.

We keep things, my family. For posterity. For the cool of it, in case we need it some day, we keep things. Which explains a few things about my childhood.

Monday, August 13, 2012


I've never had a fluffernutter sandwich. My first introduction to marshmallow fluff was at my neighbor Marcia's house where we ate it on saltine crackers as an afternoon snack. Once. I'm sure the substance came into our house periodically, as my mom made fudge during Christmas every year, but I never ate any. I LOVED the salty-sweet snack but never had it again. In fact, I think I had marshmallow fluff (alone, not mixed into a dish) again just last night when I made the following...

Fluffernutter Ice Cream!

I used this recipe from Pioneer Woman's suite of blogs. I don't know if it is delicious yet, although my house smelled of custard and peanut butter by the time I was done. I love working with peanut butter. I licked the beater. Here's what I learned:

premeasuring really helps.
I have the ice cream maker attachment for my Kitchen Aid mixer and there was a little too much batter in there once I added the fluff. So I pulled the whole shebang apart and stirred in the fluff on my own. it might be clumpy.
I love the whisk attachment on my stick blender.

I may have to try a fluffernutter sandwich now that I have an open jar of fluff. I'm not sure how that will taste on my little whole grain sandwich thins, so I may have to buy some white bread. Which means there is probably french toast in the future.

I love food.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

It might be an addiction part 1, an introduction

Hello, my  name is Gina, and I think I might be addicted to... Stuff.

I love stuff. I want to acquire more. There is stuff everywhere at my house. Some of it is really neat stuff. The acquisition of stuff causes the following results:

Lack of money
Lack of space
too much dusting

and other things too.

Right now, one of my couches is covered in stuff and therefor I have been watching TV on the floor. This makes the dog happy and I like the floor so I don't really mind. Except I really think I should be sitting on my couch sometimes. Or get rid of it.

I do things to try and lessen my clutter. I gave away my dining room table. I took the coffee table out of my living room.

Sometimes, I am absolutely overwhelmed by my stuff. So I ignore it. It gathers in the nooks and crannies of my house. I buy more and add to it. People give me things and it piles up.

I want to stop. The frightening thing is, I used to be worse.

Thursday, August 09, 2012

Ice Cream Again?

I love cinnamon ice cream. It reminds me of afternoons in Julian, CA with my friends checking out the stores and nibbling on cinnamon coated pie crust. Drinking hot tea and enjoying the clash of the hot tea and cold ice cream. It reminds me of blooming daffodils and sweet mountain air. I love Julian. there is nothing around here quite like it.

Since a trip there is expensive, I decided to make my own damn cinnamon ice cream. I figured that I could just take the custard recipe from the blackberry ice cream and add cinnamon.

Not one to stop while I can add something else, I decided that this would be a good time to use the vanilla sugar I had been infusing for... A long time. I meant to make marshmallows out of it, but I kept chickening out. To make vanilla sugar, I did the following:

Took a vanilla bean that I didn't use quick enough so it dried out. Broke it into pieces.
Filled a large mason jar with white sugar.
add bean parts. put a lid on it. shake.
leave in the pantry. shake whenever I remember. Consider for a year or so what to do with it.

Strain out the beans when you use the sugar. Put them back in the jar.

The ice cream. I added ground cinnamon. I put in cinnamon sticks. I used vanilla sugar instead of regular.

It smelled just like a snickerdoodle. I love snickerdoodles. What a happy accident! I thought it was pretty good.

Once again, I used the egg whites to make meringues. I had to cut the lemon sugar with regular so they weren't as lemony. And, as I mentioned before, I didn't use fine sugar so they were gritty. Although I ate a lot of them, they weren't as good this time. I thre a lot away.

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

My great love of food

Over the next few days, and who knows, maybe more, I'm going to be talking a lot about food. You have been warned.

I have discussed in detail my unhealthy relationship with food, my tendency to binge and starve.

I can talk all day about how my parents never taught me to eat properly, but ultimately, now that I am an adult, it's up to me to retrain myself.

I've been doing really good with that. I've cut back on my processed foods and have been cooking a lot more. It's amazing how my body has responded. I rarely get so hungry that I can't think of anything but food. My insides are generally happy. If I get hungry, I have a little snack. If I am still hungry, I drink some water. I cook and freeze and have plenty of homemade lunches. I've gotten bad about taking shortcuts lately, but last night I tossed together a salmon and lettuce burrito and it was pretty tasty. And it took less time to cook that healthy meal than it would have taken to make macaroni and cheese.

I'm not perfect. But I am trying.

I still overeat though, and I have been working on that lately, and by lately I mean in the last couple of weeks. I have been feeling really sick if I eat too much. I'm not just full, not just overfull, I'm in pain. So I have been making a point, to watch my portion size. I'm trying to consume 1 cup servings. 2 cups is too much. I learned that the hard way. 1 cup, isn't much, but I feel satisfied. No pain, no overfilled feeling. and in a couple of hours, if I feel hungry again, I have a little more.

I don't know how that is going to work out for me. It's going to be hard when I go to restaurants or, my goodness, eventually when I start dating again. (and I will. but not yet) I don't want to be a pain in the butt. It's not like I carry a 1 cup container with me, it's not hard to eyeball, but I know that if the food is on my plate I will eat it. I will have to make a point of choosing the smaller portion meals that so many restaurants are now offering.

It's progress. I will be proud of myself if I stick to it.

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Blackberry Ice Cream

I might have mentioned a couple of posts ago that I have been having all sorts of fun with ice cream. I'm not sure if I remembered to share the recipes or not so I thought I would take up some time doing so.

The first ice cream I ever made was vanilla. I thought it was a bit eggy but my mom loved it (or said she did). I don't know what happened to that recipe.

Then I started in on Sorbets which are all sorts of fun and delicious and I even made a sugar free strawberry using splenda. It was a little too sweet so I think if I ever do that again, I shall use less splenda. I don't know what happened to that recipe either.

Then the ice cream maker went into storage because I moved to Nevada and many years passed before I started playing with it again. By many, I mean like, 5. I've lived in Nevada for 5 years. That freaks me out a bit.

Anyhow, when I was gifted several weeks ago with some blackberries, I decided to make blackberry ice cream using this recipe. I LOVE me some Pioneer Woman. I don't care where she gets her recipes (I was once approached on Twitter regarding her mashed potatos) I enjoy trying them and she presents everything in a funny and personable way. And she tells good stories and takes pretty pictures.

It came out delicious. I added a good half a bag of chocolate chips and they all sunk to the bottom. I highly recommend if you are going to add chocolate chips to ice cream that you throw them in the blender first. Add chocolate slivers instead of chips.

I ate most of the blackberry ice cream.  I have more blackberries. You figure out the rest.

With the leftover egg whites, I made meringues using this recipe. I added fresh lemon zest (from the lemon I used for the ice cream!) to the sugar and ta da!! I had lemon meringues. So clever am I. Meringues are delicious. use superfine sugar though, as directed because the NEXT time I made them, they were gritty.

At some point, I put the ice cream on a meringue and I'm pretty sure that if heaven has a flavor, it's blackberry ice cream on a lemon meringue.

More ice cream goodness to come...

Friday, August 03, 2012

Bliss that ecliped all others

I went out of town last week which meant that I had to leave my boy at the kennel.

By the time Monday, pick up day, arrived, I missed him terribly.

I can't think of anything this week that made me happier than to see his puppy face. He didn't want to leave my side that night and I didn't want to be away from him either. I just kept touching him to make sure he was really there.

OOH! I also skated a full practice Monday night. I didn't participate so much as I just took the opportunity to roll, but I didn't hurt terribly the next day so I will call that a win!